Outside Google filter bubbles

This fall, I didn’t recognize the ways that a search history can be harmful. Even if a site means to be polite, it can still cause problems.

One problem is that you could end up in a filter bubble. Inside the bubble, you see things you already knew. You can enter an echo chamber where you hear what you already believe.

So, I decided: Let’s get out of my Google filter bubble. It wasn’t easy (which didn’t surprise me) but I got it done in Firefox.

I blocked all Google and YouTube cookies as well as their saved login information.

My goal was narrow. I didn’t want to improve privacy around Google. There are better tools for that. I just wanted to eliminate Google’s awareness of who I am. I did my best to not affect other services unnecessarily.

Some consequences that I know about:

  • You can’t read Gmail.
  • You can’t turn on SafeSearch in Google Images.
  • You can’t leave comments or thumb videos on YouTube.
  • You can’t use Watch Later in YouTube.
  • You have no history in YouTube.
  • Google Books lets you view extremely little of books (less than 5 pages).
  • You get the same ad links over and over.

I did some more investigation about the content of search results but I’ll explore that later.

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